Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation

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Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
Original cinema poster
Directed byHenry Koster
Screenplay byNunnally Johnson
Based onMr. Hobbs' Vacation
1954 novel
by Edward Streeter
Produced byMarvin A. Gluck
Jerry Wald
StarringJames Stewart
Maureen O'Hara
CinematographyWilliam C. Mellor
Edited byMarjorie Fowler
Music byHenry Mancini
Color processDeLuxe Color
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 15, 1962 (1962-06-15) (US)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2,000,000[1] or $3 million[2]
Box office$4 million (US/Canada rentals)[3][4]

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation is a 1962 American comedy film directed by Henry Koster and starring James Stewart and Maureen O'Hara.[5] The film is based on the novel Mr. Hobbs' Vacation, by Edward Streeter[6] and features a popular singer of the time, Fabian.


Roger Hobbs is an overworked banker who reflects on his recent vacation. Originally, he and his wife Peggy were to travel overseas alone together, but Peggy instead arranges a seaside holiday, which includes their two grown daughters Susan and Janie, teenage daughter Katey, teenage son Danny, family cook, sons-in-law, and young grandchildren.

When Roger and Peggy reach their vacation destination, they find a dilapidated beach house with rotting steps. The shared telephone line and unreliable plumbing are running gags throughout the film.

Complications mount. Their youngest child and only son Danny only wants to watch television. Katey, embarrassed by a new set of dental braces, refuses to engage in any activities inside or outside the beach house. Meanwhile, their grandson wants nothing to do with Roger.

Furthermore, one of his sons-in-law, Stan, is unemployed, which is causing tension in his marriage to Susan. Their children are undisciplined, as Susan does not believe in saying no to them. Janie is married to Byron, a windbag college professor who has a lot of ideas on psychology.

While Peggy is quite worried about the state of the family, Roger argues that the children must learn to handle problems themselves, and that he and Peggy need to stay at arm's length.

Despite this, Roger quietly goes about trying to solve each problem, one by one. He manages to convince Katey to go to a local teen dance, where she insists on sitting on the sidelines with her mouth clenched shut. Roger bribes a handsome young man named Joe to pay attention to her; Joe genuinely falls for Katey and returns the money. After the television breaks, Roger agrees to take Danny on a boating trip, where they get lost in fog for a while but bond as father and son. Byron shows interest in an attractive neighbor, but Roger tells him that she is a paranoid schizophrenic, effectively keeping him from a full-fledged affair with her.

Son-in-law Stan has a shot at a good job, and Susan asks Roger and Peggy to entertain the potential employer and his wife for a few days. The couple present as prim, proper, and sober; the only interest the man has is bird-watching, and Roger endures a boring jaunt with him, but they are not what they seem to be. Chaos ensues in a madcap scene involving a hot shower and a broken door lock.

In the end, all these interpersonal crises are resolved and the family is sad to leave. Even the grumpy grandson is upset to leave his grandfather.

They book the beach house for the next summer.



Nunnally Johnson wrote the screenplay for Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation based on Edward Streeter's novel, Mr. Hobbs' Vacation. Streeter had previously written the novel Father of the Bride, which was filmed in 1950 and remade in 1991.[citation needed]

Johnson had just finished directing a series of films, and wanted to focus on writing. He agreed to do Hobbs because he liked the story "and I knew something about it."[8]

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation was filmed in California at Laguna Beach and Dana Point. The film was shot using CinemaScope wide-screen formatting, with color by DeLuxe. It marked the first time James Stewart and Maureen O'Hara starred together in a film. They co-starred again in the 1966 Western The Rare Breed. During the scene in which Mr. Hobbs escorts his daughter Katey to a dance at the yacht club, Herb Alpert is the trumpet player in the band.[9]

The movie was the first of two James Stewart made with Fabian.[10] "If anybody’s ever blessed, you have to be blessed to work with Jimmy Stewart," recalled Fabian. "He was the most congenial, helpful person I ever worked with."[11]

It was a rare comedy role for John Saxon.[12]


The film was relatively successful in the United States and Canada upon its release on June 15, 1962, earning $4 million with an estimated budget of $2 million, but found even greater success when released overseas.[citation needed]

James Stewart won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 12th Berlin International Film Festival for his performance,[13] and director Henry Koster was nominated for Best Director. Stewart was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy. The screenplay by Nunnally Johnson was nominated for Best Written Comedy by the Writers Guild of America. Stewart and Maureen O'Hara were also nominated for their performances by the Laurel Awards.[citation needed]

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation's success inspired a series of light-hearted family comedies written by Johnson. Two of these also starred Stewart and were directed by Koster: Take Her, She's Mine (1963) and Dear Brigitte (1965).[14]

This was the final feature film for actress Marie Wilson.

Critical reaction[edit]

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote in his review: "Right off the bat, it is suggested in this wacky domestic report that togetherness is strictly for the birds and that sensible parents, especially elders, should write it out of their books. The Mr. Hobbs of the title, played beguilingly by James Stewart, is very much of this opinion as far as his own brood is concerned."[15]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey (1988). Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-810-84244-1.
  2. ^ "Wald, Ritt, Hotcher off to Italy". Variety. 21 June 1961. p. 3.
  3. ^ "All-Time Top Grossers". Variety. January 8, 1964. p. 69.
  4. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1962". Variety. 9 Jan 1963. p. 13. Please note these are rentals and not gross figures
  5. ^ "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  6. ^ Streeter, Edward (1954). Mr. Hobbs' Vacation. Harper & Brothers. OCLC 1391704.
  7. ^ IMDb erroneously identifies this character as "Mr. Kagle" (
  8. ^ Johnson, Nunnally (1969). Recollections of Nunnally Johnson oral history transcript. University of California Oral History Program. p 134
  9. ^ "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) - IMDb". IMDb.
  10. ^ Vagg, Stephen (26 August 2019). "The Cinema of Fabian". Diabolique.
  11. ^ Jack Neary, "Interview with Fabian" Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine accessed 18 January 2014
  12. ^ Vagg, Stephen (July 29, 2020). "The Top Twelve Stages of Saxon". Filmink.
  13. ^ "Berlinale 1962: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  14. ^ Johnson, Nunnally (1969). Recollections of Nunnally Johnson oral history transcript. University of California Oral History Program. p 136
  15. ^ Crowther, Bosley (June 16, 1962). "Screen: 'Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]